If the economy is slowing slower than expected, is that still bad news?
Should we benchmark the New Zealand growth rate against our international peers or should we be aiming higher?
Today's GDP growth data - 0.5 per cent for the June quarter - has come in bang on Reserve Bank expectations and slightly stronger than the market expected.
In doing so it's provided a kind of political Rorschach test for economy watchers.
There's something for everyone whatever your outlook.
Opposition parties, as you'd expect, were quick off the mark with a downbeat assessment.
"Annual GDP growth is the lowest it's been since 2013 and GDP per person growth is at just 0.5 - another drop," National leader Simon Bridges tweeted.
"The economy continues to buckle under the pressure of Labour's failed, big government economic policies", said Act leader David Seymour in a press release turned around so quickly one suspects they had it mostly pre-written.
"Falling economic growth isn't surprising given how difficult Labour has made life for businesses and workers."
The gloomiest economists weren't exactly impressed either.
ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner, the first to have picked the need for a rate cut this year, described it with as "glass 0.5 empty".
It was the fourth consecutive quarter that GDP had come in below the estimated economic potential level (0.7 per cent) "confirming a protracted slowdown in economic growth has occurred," said Mark Smith at ASB.
At Sydney based Capital Economics Ben Udy noted that business investment and consumer spending remained subdued despite falls in interest rates.
That suggested that households might actually be saving more due to the uncertain outlook.
In itself that's not such a bad thing although its not providing any immediate stimulus to flatter the growth numbers.
But by global standards 0.5 per cent is good for the quarter - in line with Australia and the US and ahead of the OECD and EU averages at 0.4 and 0.2 respectively.
Our annualised growth rate of 2.1 per cent (quarter on quarter), while still slowing compares, with 1.4 per cent in Australia and 1.6 for the OECD average.
One of the more positive economists, BNZ's Stephen Toplis said the result was enough to keep "the wolves at bay".
"The New Zealand economy lives to fight another quarter. With the market breathing down its neck, this morning's June quarter GDP report proved resilient."
One thing that everyone should agree on is that this result isn't surprising.
There has been a broad consensus about New Zealand's economic outlook for almost a year.
GDP growth is slowing into a trough that will likely hit bottom in the next quarter and rebound as increased government spending starts to kick in next year.
There was nothing in today's data to de-rail that story.
Meanwhile the global economy continues to slow and uncertainty around the trade war has generated a lot of headlines about recession risk.
But no one is forecasting a recession in New Zealand.
That doesn't mean an external shock like a financial market meltdown or a war in the Middle East couldn't push us into recession.
But that's different to the domestic economic cycle we are currently working through.
For now, how people are seeing that cycle appears to open to wide interpretation.